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The resolution or splitting of a light wave into two unequally reflected or transmitted waves by an optically anisotropic medium such as calcite or quartz. Also called double refraction.

bi′re·frin′gent adj.


(General Physics) another name for double refraction
ˌbireˈfringent adj

dou′ble refrac′tion

the separation of a ray of light into two unequally refracted, plane-polarized rays of orthogonal polarizations, occurring in crystals in which the velocity of light rays is not the same in all directions. Also called birefringence.


double refraction; the separation of light into two unequally refracted, polarized rays, as by some crystals. — birefringent, adj.
See also: Light
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.birefringence - splitting a ray into two parallel rays polarized perpendicularlybirefringence - splitting a ray into two parallel rays polarized perpendicularly
refraction - the change in direction of a propagating wave (light or sound) when passing from one medium to another
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